I know it seems extremely obvious, but it does bear saying again: If you are driving on Dartmoor, go slowly (40 miles per hour is the limit and you don't need to even go that fast - why rush the views???).
Slow down on Dartmoor campaign:
Livestock roam freely on Dartmoor and are regularly hit by cars. If you come across an injured livestock animal, the following people are very helpful (help them some more and become a member!): This is the Dartmoor Livestock Protection Society.
The Moor gets on average 88 inches of precipatation a year - that's a lot of rain!
Sometimes it's just "Townie Rain" falling vertically from the cloud-laden overhung grey skies, othertimes a Devon blue clarity can swiftly become black as The Moor's particular micro-climate draws a storm cloud in much the same way that a magician pulls the fluffy white bunny from his hat. If you want to do some serious walking on The Moor ensure you are prepared for all weathers even in mid-summer.
Have appropriate clothing, map, compass and also very useful is a whistle even for the shortest of off-road hikes - Always be prepared for a rainy day!!
Whilst the Dartmoor ponies may look a little unkempt and uncared for at times and perhaps even a little wild othertimes, especially when the rain becomes horizontal, the fact is that all of them are owned and looked after by local farmers and that grazing naturally on The Moor is what they do.
So please don't be tempted to feed them even titbits as this only encourages them to seek food around the roadsides. A pony that has just been eviscarated by a passing car isn't a pretty sight, trust me.
Now THIS - is not to be taken as a joke ....
Dartmoor - Large skull found on the moor, possibly that of a Puma - later thought to have come from a big cat skin rug.
May - Widecombe-in-the Moor - Farmer shot a Leopard Cat that was attacking his poultry. The animal was thought to have escaped from a travellers camp.
Mar – Holne - big cat sighted
July – Between Two Bridges and Princetown - big cat sighted
March - Butterdon Hill - big cat sighted
October - Giant’s Basin - Boys were camping on the moor and were awoken by strange noises. In the morning they found evidence that two big cats had clawed through the outer tent.
November - Cheston nr Wrangaton - lion sighting.
November - Dousland - huge tooth marks found in a tin of cat food, rubbish sacks torn apart and large paw print left which wildlife experts believe to be a puma’s.
November - Cornwood - a large 'puma-like' cat sighted.
August - Legis tor - A large jet black cat was observed for about 20 minutes as it stalked some grazing sheep. It was reported that the beast was about a foot taller and twice as long as the sheep.
Considering the size of Dartmoor and the numbers of livestock that graze there it has everything for a big cat to survive. The isolation would mean that very little would disturb such a creature and the sheep and ponies would provide an excellent meat source.
Clearly there are adders on Dartmoor and you may see one or none. They tend to occur on the upland heathlands and the many woodlands. I have seen them on Black Hill, Huntingdon Warren, Fox tor mire, Scorhill circle, and the O Brook. There is also a good variation in the colourings which vary from a very dark brown through to a sandy yellow and then an orangey red. The adder's year starts around May and goes onto October when they hibernate.
People occasionally get bitten and in general it is no worse than a beesting. The thing to remember is that they are really quite small and in an adult the only thing it could probably get its mouth over are the lower parts and extremities of a limb. The official NHS thinking is:
"If you are bitten by an adder you may not experience any symptoms at all. Often a snake will give you a ‘dry’ bite containing no venom. Some people develop symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea shortly after being bitten. The area around the bite may swell up or go numb. If you develop symptoms such as paralysis, dizziness or fainting you will need medical treatment.
If you are bitten by an adder, keep the bitten area still so the venom does not travel around the body and go to A&E, where you may have anti-venom treatment.
Do not try to suck or remove the venom from the skin yourself.
Some people may try to stop the venom travelling from the bitten area by using a tight band (tourniquet) – this is not recommended if you have no medical experience, as it can cause permanent damage and loss of the limb."
Dartmoor is well known for its treatcherous fogs - and I am talking FOG --- a soup so thick you can't see the hand in front of your eyes.
I was caught a few times - thankfully close to a road in that sort of weather - only one thing to do -
DRIVE VERY VERY CAREFULLY
STAY ON MAIN ROADS
STOP IN THE NEXT VILLAGE AND SIT IT OUT
EXPECT SHEEP AND PONIES ON THE ROADS AT ANY TURN